Representative Lucy McBath, a Democrat who in 2018 narrowly upset the Republican Karen Handel in a Republican stronghold, won re-election early Wednesday in a rematch that underscored the changing demographics — and anti-Trump fervor — in Atlanta’s suburbs.
The victory cemented Democratic control of a part of the Deep South that young, educated and nonwhite voters have reshaped as they diversified Georgia’s affluent Sixth Congressional District, which is among the best educated in the country. More than 72 percent white in the 2010 census, the district was less than 68 percent white by 2017.
That year, Republicans nearly lost the seat in a historically expensive special election that Ms. Handel, a businesswoman and former Georgia secretary of state, won by less than four points, becoming the first Republican congresswoman in her state.
A year later, however, the Democrats prevailed with Ms. McBath, a Black former flight attendant who had become a gun control activist after her teenage son was shot at a gas station in 2012 by a white man who had been complaining about the music her son and his friends were playing.
Ms. McBath’s 2018 victory over Ms. Handel shifted control of a district that former Speaker Newt Gingrich had represented, with the help of the National Rifle Association, for two decades.
In this year’s rematch, Ms. McBath, 60, again drew on her personal story, emphasizing gun control and health care. She also trumpeted the bipartisan and White House support she had gotten in passing her HAVEN Act, which extends bankruptcy protections to veterans.
Ms. Handel, 58, campaigned on a “law and order” platform, betting that high voter turnout in a presidential election would create the Republican margins necessary to flip back the seat, and accusing Ms. McBath of embracing policies that were too far left.
But as polls showed Ms. McBath’s lead widening before the vote, Ms. Handel’s financial support waned.
“What’s different now,” Ms. McBath told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in September, “is we have a record to show.”
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